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Greg Monroe’s offensive leap stems from no-hesitation approach

For much of his life, Greg Monroe has acted without hesitation.

When Hurricane Katrina was approaching New Orleans and his mom wanted to stay, Monroe packed his bags and told her they should leave.

When he enjoyed his visit to Georgetown, Monroe committed despite having visits scheduled to Texas, Duke and Connecticut.

When Georgetown lost to Ohio in the NCAA Tournament, Monroe said, less than an hour after the game, he’d return for his junior season.

Monroe ended up declaring for the NBA draft, despite his quick decision to stay. That’s how he ended up with the Detroit Pistons – pressing through the summer league, struggling through the preseason and sitting through the first two regular-season games.

Everywhere on the court, Monroe played timidly. That was especially evident inside offensively, where he had an inordinate number of his shots blocked.

Finally, Monroe’s no-hesitation attitude has returned.

Despite complaints from people like me that Monroe should focus on his defense, without hesitation, Monroe spent his offseason working on his mid-range jumper. Lawrence Frank has rewarded Monroe with a much larger offensive role, a role Monroe has flourished in.

  • Monroe’s usage percentage has jumped from 15.4 to 22.6 – an increase of 7.2. Among players who’ve played regularly each of the last two seasons, just Corey Brewer and Andrew Bynum have seen larger leaps.
  • Monroe’s assist percentage has risen from 7.5 to 20.7. That increase is bested just Kyle Lowry, Monta Ellis, Jarrett Jack, Ronnie Price, C.J. Watson and Derek Fisher among players who who’ve played regularly each of the last two seasons.
  • Monroe’s shooting at each location of the floor is up from last year. So is his free-throw percentage. And his offensive rebound rate.

In every way, Monroe is a better offensive player. To watch him now – put the ball on the floor, shoot with either hand, stroke mid-range jumpers, skip pass, bounce pass, etc. – it’s astonishing to think he played such a small role in last year’s offense.

He’s made the jump for one reason: he plays without hesitation. His shots, passes and dribbles are all decisive. Right or wrong, Monroe appears sure of himself with every move.

The results – 15.4 points, 3.9 offensive rebounds and 3.0 assists per game – have been remarkable. It’s been eight years since another player matched those three numbers, and Elton Brand’s Clippers played at a much faster pace than Monroe’s Pistons. It’s unlikely those stats hold all season, but given Monroe’s eagerness to improve, I say that with some hesitation.

Just another way Monroe and I differ.


  • Jan 10, 20124:52 pm
    by vic


    i won’t hesitate to be first commenter on this post.

    Monroe is a bright spot… so glad he’s developing.

    Pair him up with Andre Drummond and we’ve got something going. Two inside forces will make everything easier for our guards and wings. They will make everyone else better.

  • Jan 10, 20124:54 pm
    by Keith P.


    I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer…

    But can we wait for more than 9 games in a weird, truncated season before declaring Monroe the next great offensive weapon? I’m not saying he hasn’t made strides, but this feels premature. Greg is not immune from the turnover issues that plague the Pistons. Not to mention that being the best offensive player on the worst offensive team in the league hardly seems super noteworthy.

    From a straight watch-the-games-eye-test point of view (read: I don’t know how to site advanced stats correctly), Greg doesn’t look super comfortable being the main offensive weapon. The offense is so terrible that he’s had to become its cornerstone, though I don’t believe that Frank wanted this transition to be so sudden or that Greg is ready for the primary option role. While he’s gotten better making decisive plays in the post in the first 9 games, hesitations can still be seen in his post game–primarily with his faceup jumper.

    Greg’s numbers are pretty, but the offense, in which he’s playing so big a role, is anemic.

  • Jan 10, 20125:13 pm
    by RyanK


    Greg Monroe has done everything that’s asked of him.  It’s no surprise to me he’s doing well on the offensive end of the floor.  If he can hit that mid range shot and a continues to develop his post game he’ll be a 20 point per game player.
    I know the Pistons suck, but if we were winning games he might be considered an allstar with these numbers.  The eastern conference big men have been upgraded over the last couple years, but it used to be guys with those stats made the team.
    In his third season, I think Monroe will have this stat line:
    18-20 points
    9-10 rebounds
    3-4.5 assists
    .75-1 blocks
    .5-.75 steals
    I’m not a stat guy though.

  • Jan 10, 20125:54 pm
    by frankie d


    pair him with an athletic big guy, someone who can block shots and simply catch the ball on the offensive end – a tyson chandler/deandre jordan-type – and the pistons will have a very, very good front line.  it’ll let them slide jj over to the 3, or use him off the bench as a swing forward.
    that one guy, who should be reasonably easy to find, will turn the team around.

    • Jan 10, 20126:27 pm
      by RyanK


      Maybe we can get Darko back…

      • Jan 10, 20126:50 pm
        by frankie d


        ironically, darko would probably work very nicely with monroe. he’s exactly

  • Jan 10, 20127:51 pm
    by Max


    I expect his stats to steadily climb all season as they did last year.

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